My youngest students ever…

Someone thought it would be a wonderful idea to hold the regular meeting of their now-almost-two-years-postnatal antenatal mums group in my studio, with the toddlers undertaking an artistic endeavour. Somehow I found myself agreeing! And so it was that four barely toddling toddlers arrived on Monday afternoon for an hour of creative excess (as well as watching the dogs through the window).

I decided to get hold of some Silk Clay, which seems to be a lemony scented marshmallow like substance, that gets more pliable with the addition of small amounts of water, and then air dries and takes spritzed mica sprays very well. Charlie discovered the clay would also stretch marvellously, and suddenly there were strands of the clay pinging around everywhere! Building up the clay onto canvas boards, they pulled, squished, prodded and poked; even Thomas the Tank Engine stuck his wheels in.

After an overnight dry, I spritzed the clay with their colour choices using Cosmic Shimmer Mica Mists, and here are the wonderful creations of my four youngest ever students:

[Please note: I really don’t anticipate this being a departure from my grown-up groups. And I’m certainly not going to entertain thoughts of touring Parent/Toddler groups before you ask ;) ]

Continue reading

ZIA on other surfaces

I’ve been filming and editing a commissioned tutorial video today – but snatched moments between uploads to create a sample for my April workshop: Zentangle Inspired Art on other surfaces. As well as inviting attendees to tangle on porcelain tiles or mugs, there will also be the opportunity to tangle on fabric. I’ve quilted the square onto a card just to add bit of interest. Do this technique and more on Easter Saturday in my studio in Leicester – book your place here.


Continue reading

Papercraft Garden Bench (with Craftwork Cards)

Papercraft Garden BenchWhen I saw the new Window Box Cards from Craftwork Cards, several ideas came to mind… but for a change, others in the Design Team had beaten me to those! As I looked at the cards a little more, this idea formed, and I spent much of the rest of the day making this garden bench, complete with flower filled tug and birthday card with envelope. The bench and embellishments feature the new Scrumptious collection, augmented with Liquid Pearls (Flamingo and Juniper) and Star Dust Stickles.

The launch shows for the cards, and the Scrumptious and Velvet Plum collections are on Create & Craft TV this weekend: Sat 17th Jan at 9am,12 noon and 6pm; Sun 18th Jan at 11am, 2pm and 7pm; or via their website up to a week later.

If you’d like full instructions on how to make your own bench, they are available as a downloadable PDF file, complete with five pages of step-by-step photos and templates, for just £1.25. You will need to purchase the Window Box Cards separately, as these are not included. Click on the button below to purchase, and the download link will be emailed to you:

Buy now


Please note:
Due to the new EU VAT laws if you are ordering from any part of the EU aside from the UK, please email me to request your copy. I will then manually process your order, so it may take a little longer to receive the link.

Links are active for 48 hours – if you don’t download it before the link expires, please email me and I will reset the download. The link is sent to the email associated with the PayPal account you use to pay – please make sure you have access to the email account if you are using someone else’s PayPal.


Continue reading

Pyrography – the other side

Pyrography - side 2I’ve spent much of the afternoon wiring up outdoor lighting so that it’s much easier to get to and from the studio in the dark! Of course, one job led to another, so the wisteria has had a seeing to as well…

Just before I go and introduce mixed media to my church youth group, I decided to do the other side of my beech tile (12cmx2.5cm), this time working inside. As expected, the Dremel Versatip worked much better in the warm, though somewhat annoyingly the heat rising from the tool was enough to make holding it uncomfortable after a while. I think if I’m going to get into pyrography in a big way I am going to have to invest in the proper kit! Considering the small scale I think the doodled flowers turned out acceptably.

Continue reading

Pyrography – things I’ve learnt today

PyrographyI was lucky enough to be given a Dremel Versatip for Christmas (thanks Dawn & Tim), which, for the unaware, is a butane powered heat tool that has various interchangeable tips. One set is for pyrography, which I also got for Christmas (thanks Tom).

I thought I’d have a go at doing some pyrography this afternoon, and not wanting to have the smell of singed wood mingling with my current quilt-in-the-making, I went outside to do it. It turns out that physics is alive and well, and that with the outside temperature approaching freezing, unsurprisingly a few things happened: I got cold, the tip didn’t really warm up that quickly, I burnt through a reservoir of butane and everything took a lot longer than I expected! However, for a first go, I’m fairly happy with the result.

One other thing I learnt – if you don’t keep the Versatip tool upright there is a risk of unintended scorching as the ceramic catalyst area throws out a lot of heat (that’s the white bit near the tip). Consequently I ended up with a scorched thumb and some scorching on the wood that I didn’t want. Happily the latter sanded off fairly well, and I managed to bring back the contrast fine.

And good old Ikea came to the fore again – the piece of wood I have used is 100% beech tile that they sell in a pack of 100 as building blocks (Fundera) for just £8. These seemed ideal for practice tiles, and may be even for finished projects. Once I have practiced a bit more (in a warmer environment) they might even be the wood equivalent of a zentangle tile?

Continue reading

Overlocked Layer Cake Quilt

Following on from my speedy success with my first overlocked (serged) quilt, I popped into Quorn Country Crafts for some spare overlocker needles, and I left with some woolly nylon spools, the needles, a layer cake and another jelly roll of fabric; oh, and an offer to talk to me about leading some quilting classes later on in the year.

For the uninitiated, a layer cake (in quilting terms) is made up of 42 10×10″ squares of coordinating fabric. There’re many different ways of cutting up these squares, but it does also allow for larger squares to be used in patchwork quilting. This is my first layer cake quilt, and I’ve kept to straight lines so that I can use my overlocker for all but the quilting.

Here’s the interim pics – trialling the quilt-as-you-go overlock technique I’m developing – and I’m pleased to report success!



Continue reading

Sandy Toes Too (for Jones Crafts)

IMG_5602_wI really have used up all the papers I was sent for this month’s projects by Jones Crafts. This 12×12″ layout uses the last of the Sandy Toes Collection. The largest ‘porthole’ is actually hiding the bit I cut out from the ‘Flip Flops’ sheet for the clock face for my beach hut, framed with a circle cut from the ‘Sandy’ sheet. I stuck a square of the ‘Ocean’ sheet behind to fill in the hole. The rest is made up of elements from ‘Beach Bum’, ‘Waves’ and ‘Sea Shells’ sheets.

Continue reading